I had in mind a simple cake, quick to throw together and with lots of flavor, using a blood orange that I’d saved. I cruised online for inspiration and came across a yogurt and rosewater cake. Suddenly I was on a mission. Using Greek-style yogurt as a base and oil instead of butter, my cake took shape.
If you’ve ever had baklava that tastes incredibly special and fragrant, it probably contained either rosewater or orange blossom water. The first is distilled rose water and the second distilled bitter orange blossom water. You can find them in Middle Eastern food stores or online. I can’t describe their aroma or the taste they lend to desserts, but in small quantities each one can transform cakes, cookies and other sweet, including ice cream and puddings from ordinary to extraordinary.
With a blood orange and orange blossom water, this cake takes on an exotic taste that you can’t quite place, but that leaves you wanting another piece. Still, you could make it without either of those ingredients; with a regular orange and orange liqueur or orange juice, it would still be delicious.
It is not overly sweet and has a moist but slightly dense texture that makes it perfect for brunch or a mid-afternoon coffee/tea break. The icing lends an extra dash of orange taste and makes it pretty enough to serve to guests without a second thought.
Yogurt Orange Cake
Servings – one 8-inch round cake, about 1 ½ inches tall, serves 8 Cost – $4-5
Adapted from Yogurt and Rosewater Cake by Cooking Onions
- 1½ cups flour
- large pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup canola oil + extra for oiling pan
- Juice and zest from 1 blood orange, including 1 tablespoon + 2-3 teaspoons juice and 1½ teaspoon finely grated zest
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup Greek-style yogurt
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- 2 bowls – 1 small and 1 medium
- Small plate + zester (grater)
- Whisk or fork
- 8-inch round cake pan
- Aluminum foil to cover the pan (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil the pan well or use oil or baking spray to coat it.
- Whisk or mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder in the small bowl and set aside.
- In the second bowl, mix together the oil, 1 teaspoon of the orange zest, 1 tablespoon of the orange juice, the orange blossom water, and the sugar. Add in the yogurt and mix to combine. Then add the eggs and mix again.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix thoroughly but gently. Push the rather thick batter into the pan and even it out. (The light color at the edges of my unbaked cake is the baking spray I used, which contains flour.) Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. If the edges begin to darken before it is ready (as mine did) either put foil around the edges in several pieces or use a single piece to cover the top (but not touching the cake) while it continues to bake.
- Once the cake is done, let it sit in the pan for 20 minutes before unmolding it. While it is still warm, mix the confectioners sugar, the remaining ½ teaspoon of zest and 2 teaspoons of orange juice to make a thick glaze. You may add a few more droplets of juice, but the glaze should remain thick. Pour it on the cake and lightly brush it with the spatula or a knife to cover the top.